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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Against All Odds

Romans 8 : 34 – 39, Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. NKJV
Do you suppose Paul could have been persuaded to believe that nothing could possibly separate us from the love of God in Christ, if he hadn’t gone through most of what he listed in the above scripture? With all that the Bible teaches us about the sufferings of Paul, it’s plain to see that he knew the One, who had called him into the ministry.
There are two ways of looking at the suffering of a believer which can help us to overcome feelings of isolation and abandonment. First of all, there is the human side. If you have lived in this world for any length of time, you have more than likely encountered some pain and loss along the way. It helps us to know that others have already been where you might be today, and they were triumphant because they knew the love that God had for them during their anguish. Aren’t we told in Hebrews that we have a High Priest, who has been touched with the feelings of our infirmities? This tells us that He can relate to both whatever we have already faced, and what we are currently going through.  
It is added assurance to know that Christians have gone through and conquered similar trials; however, it’s an even greater encouragement to know that Jesus, who has suffered more than we can imagine, has the power to comfort, strengthen, and empower us to overcome. Once you have defeated your test of faith, you will be able to be a support and source of solace to others.
Secondly, there is a spiritual side to consider when discussing the suffering of Christians. Before Paul became converted to faith in Christ, He was known as Saul, and was filled with self-confidence. However, as Paul learned the cost of becoming a follower of Christ, it taught him to place his trust in the Lord. The result was a decrease in self-confidence and an increase in spiritual strength because he trusted in the Lord. The fruit of Paul’s suffering was the knowing that God would always be with him and love him through the fiery furnaces of life.
You may be facing some of the toughest situations that you have ever faced; but remember the words of a man that has been where you are today. Paul said by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that NOTHING will be able to separate you from the love of God in Christ. Today, begin to see yourself as more than a conqueror through Christ, who gave Himself for you.
Let me close today’s word with a testimony: When our second son was a baby, the doctors diagnosed him with pneumonia. I was at work when Debbie called me with the news. Furthermore, as a fairly new dad, this report from the doctor was overwhelming to me. I didn’t know if our son was  be strong enough to pull through, and the thought of losing him was more than I could stand.
On the way to the hospital, I was driving over a high mountain that allowed me to have a panoramic view of the mountain range. It was at this place, and with my eyes filled with tears and my heart filled with fear, that I saw a vision of Jesus. He appeared to be standing behind the mountain range; consequently, I could only see Him from His waist upward. As I watched Him overshadowing the mountains, I heard His voice speak peace to my heart. These are the words that He said to me, “I will be BIGGER than any mountain that you will ever face.”  
He’s Still God,
Pastor Asa Dockery

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